Breaking news from Russia’s war on Ukraine: Kherson battle lines drawn

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Russia repeated its response to a nuclear attack on Wednesday in a drill involving nuclear submarines, strategic bombers and ballistic missiles at a time of heightened tensions over a ‘dirty bomb’ allegation that she made against Ukraine.


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* Ukraine’s counter-offensive against Russian forces in its southern Kherson region is proving more difficult than it was in the northeast due to wet weather and the nature of the terrain, said Ukrainian Defense Minister.

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* Russian-installed authorities in the city of Kherson encouraged residents to flee to the eastern bank, but Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said there were no signs that Russian forces would themselves were preparing to abandon the city.

* A Russian-backed separatist official in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine said heavy fighting was taking place in Kreminna and Svatove districts.

* Russia said it would continue to make known to the international community that it believed Ukraine intended to detonate a « dirty bomb » containing radioactive contaminants. Ukraine said the allegation was false and that Russia could spread it with a view to using such a weapon and blaming Ukraine.

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* Russian President Vladimir Putin observed exercises of Russian strategic nuclear forces and told intelligence chiefs of several former Soviet countries that the risk of conflict in the region and the world was high.

* Russia informed the United States of planned annual exercises of its nuclear forces, which Washington said reduced the risk of miscalculation at a time of « reckless » Russian nuclear rhetoric.

* Putin is likely to use the possible extension of the UN-brokered Black Sea grains deal as a way to gain influence and dominate next month’s G20 summit in Indonesia, a diplomat told Reuters European informed of the negotiations on cereals.

* A group of US liberal Democrats withdrew a letter to the White House calling for a negotiated settlement of the war in Ukraine after a backlash within their own party.

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* Kazatomprom KZAP.KZ, the world’s largest uranium producer, is seeking to increase capacity on its alternative shipping route that bypasses Russia to mitigate potential sanctions risks, the Kazakh company said.

* Mercedes-Benz MBGn.DE said it would withdraw from the Russian market and sell shares of its industrial and financial services subsidiaries to a local investor, becoming the latest automaker to leave the country.

* The High Court in London has lifted a temporary freeze on a case brought by former investors in defunct oil group Yukos seeking to enforce a $50bn arbitration award against Russia in Britain.


« It’s a game of roulette, » said a Russian officer, describing the Ukrainian shelling near Balakliia in northeastern Ukraine in September, before Russian troops withdrew from the area. « Either you’re lucky or you’re unlucky. Strikes can land anywhere. (Compiled by Cynthia Osterman, Lincoln Feast and Philippa Fletcher)



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